A HOSPITAL that failed to reach staffing levels required to keep staff and patients safe has closed admissions.

Ford Ward in Fordingbridge Hospital, run by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, stopped accepting new patients on August 21.

All of the patients that were being cared for on the ward were discharged home and staff were redeployed into either local community teams or to other Trust rehabilitation and recovery units in Hampshire.

The five-bed rehabilitation and recovery unit was for those who had stayed in an acute hospital for an injury or illness.

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South west divisional director of operations Wendy Rees, from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, said admissions had to be closed due to "ongoing staffing challenges".

Salisbury Journal: Fordingbridge Hospital.Fordingbridge Hospital. (Image: Newsquest)

She added: "Patients from Hampshire, Dorset and Salisbury will still be supported by this service at Lymington New Forest Hospital and Romsey Community Hospital.

“Patient and staff safety is our priority, it is important we have the right number of skilled staff to care for patients on the ward."

Despite "extensive efforts" to recruit staff to Ford Ward, the staffing levels required to keep staff and patients safe could not be reached.

"It is very difficult to see how it will be possible for the ward to open to admissions and the Trust is reviewing options to determine the long-term future of the ward," Ms Rees added.